What is ARDAC?

ARDAC is the Antecedents of Renal Disease in Aboriginal Children and Young People Study.
Started as a community-based, longitudinal, cohort study which means that the same study participants remain involved for a long period of time! The ARDAC study monitors the kidney and heart health of children and young people in NSW. It began in 2002 and is based at the Centre for Kidney Research at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Western Sydney.

Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and young people are participating in the ARDAC study. There are now 3758 participants from schools and communities across urban, regional and remote NSW. By monitoring the health of the kidneys and heart of our participants as they move into adulthood, the ARDAC study hopes to find some answers about why the risk of chronic conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes are so much greater for Aboriginal Australians.

As of February 2022, study participants are aged from 17 to 36 years with an average age of 26.7 years. In phase 1-3 depending on availability, we visited participants every two years for a follow up kidney health check. This involves measuring their height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure and testing urine samples for glucose, protein and blood. We also assess the social determinants for health. The results are analysed to see if there are any differences occurring between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants. Any participants with abnormal results are referred to their local health centre and we ensure that de-identified group data for each region is fed back to the communities we work with.

Phase 4 see's ARDAC evolve into a Data Linkage study to assess the trajectory of the early markers of chronic disease and healthcare utilisation. We will use all evidence collected since 2002 to work in partnership with Aboriginal community controlled health services in NSW, Australia to develop local and culturally appropriate health programs.

The ARDAC Kidney Health Study is founded on the Aboriginal concept of health, which views health not just as the physical well-being of the individual but refers to the social, emotional, spiritual and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being thereby bringing about the total well-being of their Community.